A short biography of Georg Usinger, German anarchist active in Offenbach
Georg (Schorsch in the local dialect) Usinger grew up in a large family in Taunus before moving to Offenbach as a teenager. Offenbach am Main had a big working class population with large membership of both the Social Democratic Party and the Communist Party .
Called up to serve in the army towards the end of World War One, Georg returned to witness the unsuccessful attempt to storm the Offenbach barracks by workers and soldiers. Later, in 1920, he had joined the Spartakus Bund and armed himself with a rifle during the right-wing Kapp Putsch. Through contacts with the pre-war generation of anarchists and his own reading of the Conquest of Bread by Kropotkin he drew closer to anarchist ideas..
In 1922 he was one of the founders of the Offenbach branch of the anarcho-syndicalist union FAUD (Free Workers Union of Germany). Despite the small numbers- a core of 30 members- the branch was extremely active in propaganda and organisational work. Georg acted as treasurer and as distributor of the FAUD papers Der Syndikalist, Der Arbeitslose (The Unemployed) and the anarchist youth paper Der Junganarchist.
The Offenbach FAUD organised many public meetings and discussions, with visits from Rudolf Rocker, Augustin Souchy, Erich Muehsam and Theodor Plievier. After the takeover by the Nazis in 1933 the already dimished group had to go underground. After a distribution of FAUD leaflets The Gestapo began a house to house search. FAUD documents and a FAUD flag were discovered by them at Georg and Marie’s house. He was remanded in custody for two months and then sentenced at Darmstadt to two years in Butzbach prison. Immediately on release he was imprisoned for two years in the dreadful concentration camp at Dachau. Georg never talked about his experiences there in later life. After his release he was marked down as politically undesirable and was under constant surveillance.
With the end of the war surviving anarchists attempted to re-group within the Föderation Freiheitlicher Sozialisten (Federation of Libertarian Socialists). Georg was one of those involved in its organisation and was one of the editors of its magazine Die Freie Gesellschaft (The Free Society) from 1949 to 1953 . The failure and collapse of the FFS led Georg to enter the Deutschen Friedensgesellschaft ( the German Peace Society) a war resisters organisation originally founded in 1892, re-founded in 1945. He and other anarchists attempted to spread their ideas within It. This was Georg’s last political activity.
In the late eighties, some young anarchists started to search for surviving anarchists from pre-war days. Georg was one of the old comrades they made contact with. He was reticent on many details of his life, and much information was gleaned from relatives and aquiantances. Visits by the young anarchists to Georg were often difficult. On bad days, he sat in his armchair, silent and sullen. However, on good days he walked with them on the banks of the Main, smoking cigars and revealing his wit and charm.
He died in a nursing home at the age of ninety on 17th March 1990.